JAPAN PROVIDES 3 MILLION US DOLLARS FOR EDUCATION SECTOR POOL FUND
On 20 March 2013, the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Zambia signed Exchange of Notes for Grant Aid for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, otherwise known as the PRS Grant, for the education sector pool fund. This year’s disbursement marks the second occasion on which the Government of Japan extends 300 million Yen, or approximately 3 million US Dollars to the Republic of Zambia with a view to fostering quality education and ensuring that the enforcement of the Third National Implementation Framework of the Education Sector, or NIF III in this sector, are both achieved.
Japan and Zambia have a long standing history of cooperation in the education sector. Since 1998, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has dispatched numerous Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers to work as teachers, especially in Mathematics and Science. In 2005, JICA’s technical cooperation project for the Strengthening of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (SMASTE) was launched in Central Province. In Phase Two, SMASTE was expanded to include Copperbelt and Northwestern Provinces, thus empowering over 14,000 teachers. Unrelenting efforts by the Government of Zambia to upgrade the quality of education in Zambia led to the implementation of SMASTE Phase Three in October 2011, under the new name of STEPS, or Strengthening Teacher’s Performance and Skills. Under STEPS, the target area will expand to cover all the provinces so that it will benefit more than 72,000 teachers country wide.
In light of the above-mentioned achievements and subsequent to the first PRS Grant disbursement last year, a JICA education policy advisor has been attached, upon request, to the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education. The policy advisor is expected to assist with the development of strategies for tackling various challenges that the education sector faces.
It is hoped that the strong synergy engendered by the STEPS project, the contribution of the policy advisor and the budget support, will facilitate the attainment of quality education, thereby enhancing Zambia’s overall economic and social development. The provision of this grant will also further strengthen the friendship and cooperation between Japan and the Republic of Zambia.
To read a speech made by Mr. Yamaji at this signing ceremony, please click here